A pioneering scheme to encourage more walking and cycling in Harrogate has been extended until August 2022.
Experimental traffic restrictions on Beech Grove and Lancaster Road have been in place since February, seeing the installation of signage, bollards and planters – known as modal filters.
These prevent non-residential through traffic to encourage more residents and commuters to choose active, sustainable transport for their journeys to and from the town centre.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “Taking into account the consultation responses, traffic survey data, ongoing site observations and other active travel measures in Harrogate, we have decided to maintain the modal filters until summer 2022, when the experimental 18 month order ends, and a formal decision will be taken on the way forward.
“A reduction in traffic levels on Beech Grove has resulted in a reduction in the speed of vehicles and an increase in cyclists. More people are likely to cycle – for both commuting and leisure – when improved infrastructure is in place that reduces conflict with vehicles.
“We are committed to encouraging active travel, easing congestion and improving air quality in Harrogate. Other schemes such as the Otley Road cycle route, the Station Gateway project and the Active Travel Fund proposals for Victoria Avenue are all at various stages of design and construction so when work is complete we anticipate a further increase in cycling.”
Beech Grove and Lancaster Road remain accessible to residents, their visitors, deliveries, emergency vehicles, refuse collections, taxi / private hire vehicles and anybody who wishes to park in the short stay disc parking. All pedestrians and cyclists are permitted to pass through the modal filters.
Although data shows an increase in traffic on Victoria Road, it equates to 35 vehicles per hour, with the highest volumes at peak-times, and the average speed of vehicles remains at 20-22mph. Further mitigation measures to reduce through traffic on Victoria Road are soon to be implemented in response to local concerns.
Cllr Mackenzie added: “The various lockdowns have had an impact on traffic levels so an extension means we can collect further data before a decision is made on whether to make the measures permanent or set aside the scheme.
“We will continue to listen to the views of residents on the Beech Grove measures which will be taken into account as part of an ongoing review of the scheme.”
Councillor Richard Cooper, member for Harrogate Central, said: “We appreciate that some local residents remain sceptical about these new sustainable transport measures but extending the trial is important to be able to make an informed decision once we have more traffic data and consultation responses.
“We cannot pretend that traffic congestion, poor air quality, a diminishing environment and climate change can be solved without radical changes to our transport infrastructure and our personal travel habits.”
Any comments should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is April 29, 2022.